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Make Accurate Impedance Measurements Using a VNA

Updated: Dec 2, 2021

June 21, 2019

Three different methods can be applied to accurately measure passive components with a vector network analyzer.

"A vector network analyzer (VNA) is a very useful test instrument for characterizing RF circuits and amplifiers. But what about measurements of simple passive components? What’s the best way to characterize a chip capacitor or an inductor—or even a resistor?

In the past, without giving it much thought, this author has measured chip capacitors by grounding one end. After doing a careful port extension to the end of a homemade probe, the cap would be measured with the Smith chart mode engaged and read off the value from an R + jX marker. As it turns out, this method is only appropriate for a narrow range of component impedances and this measurement probably had significant error..."

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